HOMEFINDER: Micro units part of proposed Sidney complex

The plan calls for two separate structures on the property.

A proposed two-and-a-half storey

A proposed two-and-a-half storey

The architects behind a proposed 14-unit apartment complex on First Street in Sidney are blending micro-units into the mix.

Silvia Bonet, of Finlayson Bonet Architects, presented plans to Sidney municipal council Feb. 2, for what is now a vacant lot facing the waterfront on the east side of First Street. The proposal is seeking a zoning amendment to allow for six more units than currently allowed, three of which would apply for bonus density.

Those three units are also the subject of a proposed community amenity contribution of $30,000 from the developer to the Town.

Bonet has presented the project to Sidney council before, but prior to the civic election last November. This was a chance for the new council to have a look at their plans. The time between presentations also allowed the proponents to hold an open house for people’s feedback.

She says little has changed from their initial proposal to council last summer, other than some unit layout updates and the addition of wood accents to the building façade.

“We’ve also moved one building back on the ocean side, so as not to block a neighbouring building to the north,” she said.

The plan calls for two separate structures on the property. In between will be a parking area and a visual break, Bonet said, so as not to overwhelm neighbouring homes with a single, large building.

The project does represent a big change to the area, as the lot once housed a single home and garden. This new plan has raised some concern from neighbours as a result. Councillor Peter Wainwright, stating he has an open mind about the project, did add many of the neighbours themselves now live in homes built in a similar circumstance.

“One of the (neighbouring properties) got the bonus density while I was on council previously,” he said.

“It’s a big change, from a house and garden to 14 units,” added Coun. Barbara Fallot.

She noted the proposal does exceed the Town’s off-street parking requirement.

“I think any time anyone brings in something new, it’s not always palatable,” Fallot said of resident concerns made to council, “until it’s actually there.”

After agreeing that the municipality “sees merit” in the $30,000 amenity contribution, Mayor Steve Price said the project should be reviewed by the Town’s Advisory Planning Commission.

Coun. Mervyn Lougher-Goodey said the APC will look at it and make its recommendation to council. After that, the proposal would still have to face a public hearing — the chance for the public to speak to council about their concerns.

Sidney council agreed unanimously to send the project to the APC. Lougher-Goodey noted they probably would not have their recommendation back to council until mid to late February.